Legendary Paralympian joins World Masters Games 2017 ambassador programme
Four times Paralympic swimming gold medalist and world record holder at the Atlanta 1996 Paralympics, Duane Kale, has today been announced as an ambassador for the World Masters Games 2017, the world’s largest multi-sport event that kicks off in Auckland, New Zealand in just over a year.
Kale’s appointment was announced by World Masters Games 2017 Chief Executive Jennah Wootten as part of the opening of registrations for the global sporting festival. “We are delighted to welcome one of New Zealand’s greatest Paralympians to our group of ambassadors. Duane is both an outstanding athlete, and an outstanding sports administrator, as reflected by his roles as Chef de Mission at Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Paralympic Games and as a board member for Paralympics New Zealand and the International Paralympic Committee.”
“We are extremely proud to have put together the largest ever Para-Sport programme in the history of the World Masters Games movement. Duane is passionate about opportunities to advance Para-Sport, so the fit is great for all involved.”
As well as becoming an ambassador, Kale is also one of the first 10 WMG2017 participants to register for the Games. “He joins former New Zealand cricketer and Rugby World Cup 2011 CEO Martin Snedden and other sportspeople who represent the diversity of masters’ sports,” Ms Wootten says.
Kale says the opportunity to be involved as an ambassador for World Masters Games 2017 matches perfectly with his belief in the unique ability of sport to create social change. “The coming together of athletes to a multi-sport event such as the World Masters Games brings a wide range of people into one place with a common purpose.
“The values of sport which encourage camaraderie, competition, personal success and growth are ones I am always delighted to be part of and World Masters Games 2017 epitomises these very values,” he says.
Kale has registered to compete in the 50m and 100m freestyle swim events which form part of the Para-Sport swimming programme. Overall there are a total of 11 Para-Sport options for athletes with a disability at the Games in April 2017 including archery, athletics, badminton, canoe, cycling, lawn bowls, rowing, swimming, table tennis, tennis and triathlon. All Para-Sport options will be fully integrated into the planning and delivery of the overall sports programme and all will have a classification system in place to ensure fair and equitable competition.
Kale joins the 11 ambassadors based in New Zealand – Hamish Carter, Jenny-May Clarkson (nee Coffin), Garth Barfoot, Susie Simcock, Bryan Williams, Allison Roe, Noah Hickey, Cory Hutchings, Anna Stanley, Nathan Twaddle and Mark Orams.
There are also six ambassadors based internationally including International Goodwill Ambassador, Lord Sebastian Coe former Olympic bronze medal swimmer Anthony Mosse, two-times Olympic medal winning volleyball coach Hugh McCutcheon, two Australians – world squash legend Sarah Fitz-Gerald and the fastest Olympic woman softball pitcher Jenny Holliday, and Canadian masters basketball supremo Jude Kelly.
“The work our ambassadors do on a voluntary basis on our behalf is invaluable,” says Ms Wootten. “Duane’s strong belief in the values of sport are a perfect fit with those of World Masters Games 2017. We hope he will help in spreading the WMG2017 message throughout the international Para-Sport community.”
Registrations for the Games close 31 January, 2017. Places in some sports are limited so those interested in competing should register promptly. Information about the Games, the sports, pricing and payment options can be found at www.worldmastersgames2017.co.nz